2011 NFL Draft: Power Ranking The Top 10 Most NFL-Ready Quarterbacks
With the playoffs now in full swing, teams and fans alike have turned their attention to the playoff scoreboard on a 24/7 basis.
However, for some teams (and fans), the offseason can't come any sooner.
With holes to fill and personnel changes to be had, some NFL teams are in a world of hurt.
But on the bright side of things: many NFL-ready quarterbacks with a boatload of potential are entering this year's draft, giving some teams hope for the future.
So without further ado, here are the top 10 most NFL-ready quarterbacks in this year's NFL Draft.
10. Christian Ponder, Florida State
2,044 yards, 20 TD, 135.68 rating
At Florida State, Ponder led the Seminoles to a 9-4 record, including a 26-17 victory over South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Standing at 6'3'' 227 pounds, Ponder has been known for his great poise and willingness as a pocket passer, and lacks very little on the quarterback checklist.
Coming off a shoulder/elbow injury suffered in 2009, Ponder will need to recuperate for a while before showing off his talents at the NFL Combine.
Draft projection: Second to third round
9. Nick Foles, Arizona
3,191 yards, 20 TD, 140.86 rating
Foles, a transfer from Michigan State, was the offensive leader of the Arizona Wildcats over the last two seasons: yielding 5,677 yards and 39 touchdowns between the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
But the most impressive intangible Foles has to offer is his abilities in the clutch, leading Arizona to late game-winning touchdown drives against Iowa and Cal in 2010.
In addition to his 6'5'' 245-pound form, Foles will surely excel at the next level.
Draft projection: Third round
8. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
3,022 yards, 21 TD, 150.46 rating
Nevada's senior quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, remains one of the most successful collegiate passes in the history of the Mountain West Conference. As a four-year starter, Kaepernick has thrown for over 10,000 yards and 82 touchdowns.
This year, Kaepernick led Nevada to a school-record 13 victories, including one of the biggest upsets in college football history, where the Wolfpack upset the then-undefeated Boise State Broncos in a 34-31 victory for the ages.
In addition to his surplus of physical attributes (standing at 6'6'', 225 pounds), Kaepernick is obviously one of the most gifted athletes entering this year's draft.
He's got great talent, and outstanding arm speed to boot; however, he may struggle to compete against some of the bigger defensive players the NFL has to offer.
Draft projection: Fifth to sixth round
7. Andy Dalton, TCU
2,857 yards, 27 TD, 166.48 rating
If you're looking for a winner, Dalton is your guy.
As TCU's starting quarterback since his freshman days, Dalton has a 44-8 career record with the Horned Frogs, and after leading TCU to a Rose Bowl victory this season, Dalton's winning ways have been exposed to the public more than ever before.
At 6'2'', 220 pounds, Dalton has succeeded in at the collegiate level for four straight seasons. However, the transition to the NFL may prove to be a bit challenging.
With great pocket presence, and a solid arm with great precision, Dalton is worthy draft pick for nearly any team in this year's draft.
Draft projection: Fourth round or later
6. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
3,004 yards, 25 TD, 157.63 rating
One of the most polished Big Ten quarterbacks ever to enter the NFL Draft, Stanzi has great pure skills that could potentially transition into major success at the next level.
Despite having played in a run-first offense, Stanzi threw for 7,377 yards in three complete seasons as the starter for the Hawkeyes.
Although coming off a daunting leg injury, Stanzi's capabilities and potential remain untarnished.
However, for Stanzi to bolster his draft status, a trip to the NFL Combine will be on his imminent schedule.
If he does well, teams could be salivating over him. A bad performance, and he could be waiting a while on draft day.
Draft projection: Sixth round
5. Greg McElroy, Alabama
2,987 yards, 20 TD, 168.98 rating
The winningest quarterback in Alabama football history, Greg McElroy has proven to be one of the most clutch and reliable arms in the entire nation.
His mobility, accuracy, and poise in the pocket are all enormous attributes to his overall football execution. However, winning football games is what will get NFL scouts' attention.
Leading the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season that ended in a national championship victory over Texas to end the 2009 season remains the highest of his accomplishments.
At 6'2'', 220 pounds, McElroy replicates that of many entering this year's draft. However, one tangible separates him from the pack: winning.
Draft projection: Fourth to fifth round
4. Pat Devlin, Delaware
2,675 yards, 20 TD, 2 INT
Delaware's senior quarterback, Pat Devlin, possesses enormous NFL potential, and his statistics aren't he has to offer. Standing at 6'4'', 222 pounds, Devlin nearly replicates that of a Joe Flacco or a Ben Roethlisberger.
Devlin was the CAA Football Offensive Player of the Year in 2010, and enjoyed an outstanding first year at Delaware after transferring from Penn State... a year in which he completed 220 of 334 passes for 2,664 yards and 16 touchdowns.
A good showing at the Combine will certainly boost his draft stock.
Draft projection: Late third round
3. Jake Locker, Washington
2,265 yards, 17 TD, 124.20 rating
Coming into the 2010 season, Locker's status amongst his fellow draft-eligible quarterbacks was second to none.
In fact, Locker was nearly set to become the certain No. 1 pick in the 2011 Draft. However, that wasn't the case, as I'm sure you're aware of.
Yielding less-than-impressive numbers in 2010 will cost him a few dollars (obviously), however his frame and talent makes up for his disappointments.
A prototypical 6'3'' 230-pound frame has been the ideal physique for many teams in need of quarterback services over the past decade, and Locker possesses just that.
Draft projection: Early first round
2. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
3,869 yards, 32 touchdowns, 163.65 rating
The prototypical pocket passer, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett has been making headlines since the beginning of last season as one of the best pro-style quarterbacks in the nation.
Standing in a 6'6'', 238 pounds, Mallett already has the height required to become a NFL quarterback...and with impeccable accuracy throughout games, Mallett is a sure-fire franchise quarterback in the making.
Mallet could move up if he works with a good quarterbacks coach who gets his footwork in order. No one doubts the arm. But today's great quarterbacks can all move around at least a little bit in the pocket.
Draft projection: Early to middle first round
1. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
3,186 yards, 16 TD, 127.03 rating
Deciding to forgo his senior season at Missouri, junior quarterback Blaine Gabbert is probably the most polished quarterback entering this year's draft.
In two seasons as the Tigers' starter, Gabbert threw for over 3,000 yards in consecutive seasons, including a 140.45 rating in his sophomore season.
Oh, and let's not forget his leadership in Missouri's upset victory over then-No. 1 Oklahoma: racking up 308 yards and a 71.4 completion percentage in the victory.
His leadership and eagerness have transformed into consistent winning, guiding the Tigers to a 10-3 record this season.
Draft projection: Early to middle first round